NT Fishing Report
With Alex Julius 10 November 2011
Don’t you just love Darwin’s tides, especially at this time of year when we’re into extremes.
Take tomorrow’s tides, for example. In Darwin Harbour, the daylight low is exactly 3.4m higher than last Friday’s low tide in the early afternoon.
Mind you we don’t get 0.0 tides too often (actually only once or twice a year, and usually in October/November). That 0.0 tide rose 7.9m over the next six and a half hours.
As you can imagine, fishing in the salt was tough last week, especially around Darwin itself and out on the blue (which wasn’t all that blue). The exception was down Dundee Beach way.
I heard there were some good fish hooked – although not necessarily landed – just offshore at places like Chan Rock.
I suspect that would have been around half tide as the rock would have been close to high and dry at low tide and fully submerged at high tide.
If you’ve never fished Chan Rock before, it’s the last rock on the way to the Finniss mouth.
In the old days when the land along the coast there was simply Finniss River Station, if you had permission from the station manager, you could drive to the coast, exiting on the sand just a bit west of the offshore rock.
It got its name Chan Rock because Greg Chan used to fish it heaps. Greg was part-owner of Fishing & Outdoor World before moving to Melbourne to coach the National Clay Target Shooting Team. I fished there with him a few times.
We would launch a tinny on the beach, motor out and across about 3km, jam the tinny into a crevice at the rock, tie it off and start fishing.
Mainly you fished the inshore-western side, making long casts with 6-inch Nilsies parallel with the coast to where there was a bit of a ledge.
Oh, did I tell you that most of the barra at Chan’s Rock were at least in the 90s in length…still are.
Anyway, Greg favoured a longer, double-handed baitcasting rod to get the distance with an ABU 6500C or similar.
For the life of me, I don’t know why we didn’t use threadline outfits which would have hurled the Nilsies out of sight. I suppose we were pretty blinkered in those days.
Nowadays you’d be reluctant to jam a bigger, expensive barra boat against the rock, especially if it’s been painted; but you can still anchor just out from the casting spot, as long as you are inside the submerged ledge so you can cast to it in the right direction.
Actually, it just occurred to me that Greg always maintained that fast retrieves were the go. Yes, the retrieve side of barra fishing is definitely evolving.
Well, that’s Chan’s Rock for you…give it a go next time you’re down Dundee way.
Given the huge tides last week, any decent barra fishing reports have come from inland.
The best of all was from Corroboree where Roger Sinclair and Glen Hubble slayed them. They caught a mixed bag of 35 barra and 15 saratoga, with some nice fish amongst them.
Mainly they used Zman Popping Frogz retrieved slowly and steadily across the surface, and Zman Paddlerz worked as you would any weighted softie.
From now until the wet season proper, lagoon fishing will be inconsistent.
That’s because the combination of stinking hot days and intermittent storms can send the barra in to mood.
Still, that’s what the Build-up is all about, at least in the freshwater.
Last week I published a photo of a fish I called a “juvenile amberjack”.
Old mate Steve Starling emailed me this week to rightly correct me. This is what he wrote:
“Just letting you know that the small mystery fish pictured in your column last week wasn't a juvenile amberjack, as your caption stated. It's actually a black-banded kingfish (Seriolina nigrofasciata). I've never seen a real, live photo of one before, but recognised it instantly from drawings, paintings and dead fish shots I've seen in I.D. books over the years... I've always wanted to see one of these critters! They grow to a maximum of 70cm but are usually quite a bit smaller, so that one may well be a sub-adult. They range from East Africa to Japan and are said to be a ‘solitary species preferring offshore reefs’. Just thought you'd like to know!”
I’ve since investigated a bit more, and yes I agree with Steve. Grant’s Guide To Fishes calls it a “black-banded amberjack” but the scientific name is the same.
Glenn Hubble with a 72cm Corroboree barra caught in the thick of it.
Sam Wilkison nailed this 103cm barra from Pocock’s Beach.
Here’s another look at the rare black-banded kingfish which I wrongly called a juvenile amberjack last week.